Why is the color display of catalogs and look books important? We do not need detailed explanations; we will focus on what affects color reproduction and how to secure ourselves, not to make mistakes with color.
The transfer of color on the source image is affected by a large number of factors. The most important of them are: the quality of the light source, the equipment that is used to photograph (the lens, the camera), as well as the Raw converter, which will be used in subsequent processing.
The gray map allows you to easily adjust the white balance in the pictures, but this is not enough to accurately get into every color, hue and transition to the subject of photography. Here come to the aid all sorts of color targets. One of the most common ones is Xrite Colorchecker. But there are many analogues in different price ranges.
How to use this target so that there are no problems with color rendering on the post?
First of all, we need to understand with what light source we are dealing. If this is natural light, then depending on the height of the sun, it is necessary to shoot the target every 2-3 hours and then build a color profile in time. If it's a studio shot, it's enough just to take a picture of the target, with the same light. Also it is necessary to take separate pictures for such complex sources of illumination as fluorescent lamps, daylight lamps and so on. Most difficult is if combined light sources are used. In this case, most likely, 100% reliable color display cannot be obtained even with the use of targets.
In order to be able to use information from the target, it is necessary to comply with such requirements:
- the color target should be located perpendicular to the axis of the lens and all fields should be in focus
- the frame should be well exposed, without having to fix the exposure in the RAW converter
- the color target should occupy not less than 10% of the frame, if more - better
- It must be borne in mind that the color targets have a definite period of service, they fade, are not 100% accurate after some time
- it is necessary to ensure that the color target does not get dirty, do not place it next to dirty objects, do not take it by the color fields
First, you install the items (model) to where the shooting will take place. First of all, you take a shot with a gray card, then with a color target, and you will not need them any more before the next light shift, then you work only with the model / objects.
Next, it is a matter of retouching skillsto properly build a color profile and output the exact colors from the source. In this we are assisted by various applications, such as Adobe Camera RAW, ColorChecker Passport and others.
Using a color target certainly does not guarantee a 100% hit in the right color, but it gives the greatest opportunity to approach the original, and also facilitates communication with the retoucher at the post-processing stage.